FILE -- MP Bruce Hyer (Ind., Thunder Bay - Superior North) says his two proposed bills will help the auditor general and the parliamentary budget officer do their jobs as best they can.
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Bruce Hyer wants harsh penalties for anyone refusing to provide information to the parliamentary budget officer and auditor general.
The independent Member of Parliament for the Thunder Bay – Superior North riding introduced two bills -- C-507 and C-508 -- Wednesday in the House of Commons. The bills, if passed, would mean anyone who obstructs the auditor general or the parliamentary budget officer could face jail time, a stiff fine or both.
Hyer believes his bills are keeping with the Conservative government’s election platform of accountability.
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper was elected on a promise to increase not decrease accountability in government,” Hyer said in a phone interview with tbnewswatch.com from Vancouver Island.
“It is pretty challenging to pass things right now because of what I call a false majority. If we’re not able to get it through this parliament then hopefully next time we’ll have a very different parliament and I hope immediately either the NDP or the Liberals will pick this up and run with it.”
Hyer said the government appointed an effective parliamentary budget officer, but continually resisted his efforts to do his job.
Hyer clarified that the charges in the bill wouldn’t be criminal. Under the proposed bill, a judge could impose a jail sentence of six months, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
Other parliamentary offices have strict penalties such as the privacy commission. Hyer said he’s just trying to put in place something other offices already have.
He calls it a logical step.
“Clearly, this is needed and I think it is an important step to make sure the auditor general and the parliamentary budget officer can do their jobs and best represent the needs of parliament and the public,” he said.
“I have this knack for being ahead of the pack in discovering ways to improve the functioning of parliament. My staff and I have been thinking about how to make both those positions more affective. We did a little homework but it didn’t take that much to realize what the problem was.”
Hyer said he’s hopeful that another MP will adopt the bills so they could be passed sooner rather than later.
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